We're gathering information for a future blog post and would love your input on the following 2 questions. Please post your answers in the comments section below. Those results will be combined with the results from a similar survey posted on this website's forum as well as any submitted on Facebook, via DM, or by email. Thank you!
How many times have you seen Tristan dance live?
E. 4 or more
If you have seen Tristan dance live, where was the performance (s)? Choose all that apply.
A. Burn the Floor
B. Ballroom With A Twist/Ballroom With A Twist-Mas
C. Dance Temptation
D. Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2015
E. Dancing With the Stars - any Season 12-17 show
F. Strictly Come Dancing - any 2014 or 2015 show
G. Life's A Dance
H. Other (Holland America or P&O Cruise, DWTS Live In Las Vegas, etc.)
****Please post your responses in the comments section below.****
After a very busy 2015 with almost non-stop appearances and performing, Tristan is taking a break for some rest and relaxation. He still made time for some of your questions today, and in this short interview Tristan discusses his work with the Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards, how things he says are often taken out of context and then printed as fact, the importance of giving back, and more. It's always a pleasure to hear from Tristan, and we appreciate how much time he gives to his supporters. Enjoy!
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You’ve been busy. A lot of your supporters from all over the world have expressed an interest in what you’ve been doing lately and wanted to know how we could help so I thought the best way was to spread the word as much as we can so that no matter where you are, there is always a group waiting to support any causes or work you are doing if we can.
Things are good. I’m kicking back a little bit and taking a break after a long year and busy holiday period. Now I’m just clearing my head and getting my ducks in a row. Work has been good. Things have been working out alright lately and I’m lucky to have a lot of options on the table after putting a lot of time and effort into things at the minute so no complaints.
First of all, tell us about your involvement in the Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards which will be held in May.
I was contacted and asked to be involved - simple enough to be honest. It’s something I’m really happy to be involved in. It’s not something I had been following for a while or anything but when I looked into it a bit more I realized how important it is. It’s not necessarily important to see who is amazing and who isn't but it gives students at home an opportunity to have their talents recognized a bit more. There are a lot of amazing theatres in Ireland and I’d love to, in a little way, try to help promote something that helps us fill them with our own talents from home. It starts with things like this where we have students from primary and secondary schools being encouraged to put their stamp on the industry.
Obviously the arts are important to you, but from your perspective, how important is it for children to be exposed to the arts at a young age – whether they ultimately choose it as a career path or not?
Just to encourage the youth to express themselves and encourage them to work hard is paramount.
Along these same lines, several articles have been published recently about your desire to possibly, at some point, work back in Ireland in some form in stage and theatre training. In the event this comes to fruition, what would you like to see as the focus of such a school or venture?
That was all taken out of context to a degree. I think there was an angle that I wasn't really privy to when all those questions came in. They should have been about the student awards but it ended up being about Strictly and me and reality shows and silly things. In response to a question, I said that of course at some stage to come home to Ireland would be great and that I could see myself living there but not right now. If a dance show came about I would consider it but there is so much more to it than just that. I suggested a great show would be something put together by different counties throughout the country and there would be a cast selected from the same production across the board and that way it would actually mean something. Students could be taught how to put a show on, how to manage a show, how to perform or produce essentially like a theatre school. It would be a show that didn't rely on celebrity to sell it. There are too many people getting excluded from too many things for absolutely no reason so I said it would have to be a show or something that actually meant something to people and not just a reality fad for a few weeks or months. I think the best thing about Strictly is that they have a People’s Strictly which consists of people who contribute to their communities somehow and are fans of the show so they come on and dance with the professionals for a live show. I think that brings the whole place together more.
In addition, we saw a photo of you with the Purple House Cancer dancers and since cancer prevention and cure is a cause near and dear to many of us, someone asked if you are working with any particular charities these days. A lot of the people on the website are heavily involved in different charities – many cancer related – and the question came up a few days ago and this seemed like a good time to ask. We always encourage the people on the site to support any cause important to them either by giving their time or money when possible but we are always happy to give them a nudge in a certain direction if they want to help in some way.
I don't have any particular charities I work with, no, and there are so many it’s hard to exclude. If I can help something I will. If not, I try to not feel guilty about it. Unfortunately, there are so many people who need help and there never seems to be enough around! Purple House is a great charity. We all hate cancer and we all have been affected by it somehow. This time I’ll try to raise money for that. Last time it was homelessness. There are a number of people who work their arses off every day for these great causes so to help in any way - however small it seems - I think is necessary. There is so much money in the world and although it’s not the answer to everything, it goes a long way to helping. There are a lot of amazing people in the world who give everything they have so it’s not much to try and ask people to give a little if they can. We never know how we can help and we never realize that what we do helps more than we know so if there is anything you have an interest in, sometimes the biggest step is making the contact. Just maybe the people who feel most hopelessness and helplessness in their own lives can be the most important in somebody else’s.
We all hope you’ve enjoyed being home. Have you had lots of time to rest and relax and just take it easy?
Not just yet but I’m working on it!!
Finally, back to that dancing thing for a moment…do you have anything coming up? We’ve been keeping an eye on the 2016 Ballroom With A Twist dates in the U.S. and weren’t sure if you would be available for any of those or any other planned shows or events here in the states, in Ireland, or elsewhere. There is a lot of interest, as always.
Nothing is booked in just yet. I’m working on a whole bunch of things but I’m not looking past this week at the moment! I’m shattered and my body and more importantly my head needs a break.
We learned a lot of things in 2015 while watching Strictly Come Dancing, but we narrowed it down to our top 11. While you might see the name Tristan MacManus a few times, there is a good reason for that. After all, this is a website devoted to him so that's how we roll. So sit back, get comfortable, agree or disagree, and enjoy our top 11 eye-openers from Strictly Come Dancing 2015.
11. Patience is never overrated. VTs don't tell the complete story, but kudos to the patient pros (you know who they are) for always showing us that nice guys and ladies finish first. A smile goes a long way. Too many frowns, excuses, complaining, and short tempers annoy us.
10. Dance Offs aren’t so bad after all. We're not the ones dancing them, of course, but we like the Tristan MacManus approach. A Dance Off gives you a chance to immediately take any criticism and make corrections. It also gives you an opportunity to dance twice instead of once, so what’s wrong with that? Strictly is all about dancing, and while being in the bottom two isn’t ideal, it is another opportunity to perform. A Dance Off also tells you a lot about the pro and celebrity – who handles it well and who…..doesn’t.
9. It Takes Two is a whole lot better when there is a lot of laughter, and that happened every time Tristan MacManus was on. Put him with Kevin, Aliona, Joanne, Karen, etc. and hilarity is bound to ensue. We're thinking that he and Zoe Ball should take their show on the road because laughter is the best medicine and they provide an excuse for all of us to giggle. It’s all good.
8. A “5” is somebody else’s “7” and sometimes a judges’ “9” is our “6” which means there were lots of WTF moments this year. We all have our own criteria, true, but somewhere things went awry this year and technique got thrown out the window in a lot of cases. In other words, there was a lot of style over substance.
7. With a couple of exceptions this year, Len Goodman is still our favorite judge. He’s the voice of reason (yes, we said the voice of reason), and while we think he overscored a little here and there, we believe he is the only one who didn't put up with crap, egos, wasting time, and illegal lifts….and dances that profess to be one thing but aren’t.
8. There were way too many tens handed out by the judges (Len included).
9. We realized that we really want to see mandatory deductions for illegal lifts, wasted time during a performance, technique that doesn't improve week to week, showy choreography that ignores technique, and dances that aren’t what they are supposed to be. If you’re supposed to do a Viennese Waltz, do a freaking Viennese Waltz, not a hybrid of something unrecognizable. And if it's supposed to be a Samba, please make it look like a Samba instead of something we might do after having a few too many at the pub.
5. Ringers aren’t always that interesting. After years of watching DWTS and SCD and seeing ringer after ringer win, place, or show (an old horse-racing analogy) it has gotten too predictable. As much as we loved the cast this year, things got kind of boring.
4. This season, more than any other, has shown us the vast differences in approach, training, choreography styles and patience levels of pros. That’s all we’re saying. We're sure that you know exactly what we're talking about.
3. All things are not created equal. We're talking ringers, duffers, etc. Someone with years of dance training – of any type – has advantages that others do not. We’re not saying there shouldn’t be ringers and there shouldn’t be duffers, but spread them around fairly and equally to all the pros. In other words, when pro #1 has ringer, ringer, ringer, duffer, ringer and pro #2 has duffer duffer duffer duffer and pro #3 has ringer duffer ringer ringer it starts to smell fishy, and we don’t mean fish in the pleasant smelling kind of way. Just something to think about. Our point is that while life isn’t fair, SCD should be – or at least as close as possible to “fair” as it can be. We think the powers that be try to make it look fair but aren’t there yet.
2. This years’ pro dances were, well, a little bit of a letdown in some respects. There were too many props, themes, and gimmicks when what we wanted to see was just great dancing. Yes, this blog post is Tristan-heavy but since this is his website/fansite, this next observation was inevitable. SCD needs to put Tristan in more pro dances. This year it was ridiculous because we only saw him now and then and the one dance that was promoted as having Tristan as the male lead dancer was a complete non-event. All you have to do is look at the number of website hits and forum views to know that people adore this man. He brings energy, charm, charisma, beauty, performance skills, and yes, magic. We can all use a little more magic.
1. Tristan MacManus treats his supporters really well. This isn't exactly news, but it's worth another mention because he sets the standard. We’ve done 56 Q and As with Tristan since July, 2012 and he has answered more of our questions than we can count. He has outdone himself this year and has gained many more supporters and all seem to want to hear what he has to say. They have sent us questions on the Facebook Fan Page, on Twitter, via the website email, and on our website forum and we select a few, and he answers them. We decided to give him a break for a while but that now means we have more than 200 new questions waiting and more come to us every single day. No worries, Tristan, we won’t send all of them to you right now because you deserve a break from the craziness (MacMania or MacLunacy, if you will), but you are a prince among men and for that we thank you.
Tristan is currently appearing in Ballroom With A Twist-Mas in Florida and has been very busy since Strictly Come Dancing finished up last weekend. He took time today to answer a few of your questions.
Several of us were fortunate enough to see the new Ballroom With A Twist-Mas show this week in Maryland. It was a great show, by the way. How did you manage the travel from the UK, rehearsal, and getting a little sleep before show time?
Thanks for coming. I didn't get too much sleep before the Baltimore show to be honest. We finished the Strictly final late on Saturday night and then went straight home to pack and flew first thing to Dublin for a layover where we caught up with my family in Dublin airport for a few hours. We flew all day Sunday and then learned the show Monday morning and did the show Monday night......and then I had a few hours sleep and we left Baltimore at 5 a.m. to fly to West Palm and drive to Boca Raton.
Take us through your numbers with Chelsie and how the show will change in Florida when you will be dancing with Sabrina Bryan, and Gleb Savchenko and Elena Samodanova will be joining you on stage.
We did four numbers - two group numbers and two solos with Chelsie and then I taught the dances to Sabrina, and we give that a bash for the week here. We have a group samba with the cast and then I dance a Foxtrot to “Baby It's Cold Outside” with Sab and a quick Q and A in Act One. Gleb and Elena dance a Cha Cha. In the second act we dance a Jive to “All I want For Christmas” and then we all finish with a group Jive after a quick dance lesson and Gleb and Elena do a Rumba. We come out at different parts of the show and talk to the audience then as well and that is followed by a meet and greet at the end.
Since this is an all new show that you saw for the first time Monday night, do you have any favorite numbers ? (by any of the cast)
No. I didn't get to see too much of the show the first night as I was still learning the running order and cues so I was pretty occupied for that first show but it’s great. It’s a strange one with Christmas music. I don't know if it’s just me but eventually Christmas music gets on my nerves when you hear the same songs over and over and over in and out of work but for some reason it doesn’t bother me with this show. There are your Christmas songs we all love and then there is a Motown medley of songs and the singers we have and live band are unreal so it’s a lot more enjoyable than I would have expected.
It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces in the show – Kiki, Brent, Oksana, CJ, Tony, Magda, Jon, Legacy, etc. It seems like a family. So many of you have performed together again and again over the years – the troupe, the Holland America cruises, BWAT, and other shows. What are your thoughts on the cast? You mentioned in our last interview that Jaymz is a good friend of yours and also the show’s choreographer, but we didn’t see him around this week. Is he there with you all in Florida?
The cast are great, yeah - no egos - just a great bunch of people who love spending time with each other. There is no competition here so everyone is just normal and gets on with their job. Nobody is trying to get one up on each other or going in the background to get ahead. It’s just a show we love performing and performing as a team. Jaymz isn't here yet but he may get here in a few days. He is always busy choreographing shows or performing and he has more DWTS cruises coming up so he is flat out.
The lead vocalists for this show – Von Smith and Vonzell Solomon – were nothing short of amazing (as were the band’s vocalists). Do you have a favorite (so far anyway) of any of their numbers?
No favourites, no. I love them all. Vonzell I hadn't seen in years as she used to sing on Burn The Floor with us way back and Von as always is just unreal. He has such a unique voice. The two work well together and obviously it’s the first time Gina [Gina Glocksen-Ruzicka] isn't singing on the show. Occasionally she would miss a show or two and a different singer would come in but it’s strange not seeing her face here but Vonzell is killing it here. She is great.
Speaking of music and musicians, you’ve occasionally done BWAT with an orchestra, but in this new show a band is on stage for every performance. How does that add to the show?
Everything live is always better, in my opinion, and this band adds so much to the show. Everyone is multi-talented and you can see as well as the musicians playing they are so involved in the dance numbers themselves, which is great to see. You can catch eyes with a guy in the band and you know you are performing together which is what you miss when it’s track. Jacob and Chantelle come out and start singing as well or sing while playing their instruments which I wasn't expecting. It’s just an all round better show in my opinion and being the holidays it just adds a different dimension to it.
On a SCD note – we loved seeing Aliona and Jay win this year and we were sad to hear that Aliona won’t be returning next year to Strictly. What are your thoughts on the series overall?
Yeah, Aliona just mic dropped it and dropped the bomb that she is leaving – haha. It’s gonna be a great loss to the show but she is a top girl. I have a lot of time for her and no doubt whatever she wants to do next will be a huge success. The season was grand, yeah, a little long to be honest but it was great. Starting in August and finishing late December is draining but the cast and crew this season were fun. The new cast members slotted in great and I’m glad they all did so well. I’m sure they will be around for a while and I’m sure a bunch of us will be having our eyes on new adventures and what not - you never really know when each season finishes. Sometimes you can't wait for the next to start and sometimes you couldn't think of anything worse but for now it’s just taking a break and resting up and enjoying the new year and seeing what you wanna do. The show is a machine and will keep going strong as long as the fans of the show want it to as it’s in your hands. The support is always immense.
Finally, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family from all of us. Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.
Well, here is to the holidays. Have a great Christmas and New Year. Don't get caught up too much with presents and gifts this month. Most people just miss a phone call or a visit to say hello and a cuddle. Spend time and not money and enjoy time with your families. Take care.
To see more photos from Ballroom With A Twist-Mas from December 21, 2015 in Maryland, use either of these links:
I have seen numerous BWAT shows – some with Tristan, some without – but when I heard about the new Ballroom With A Twist-Mas show starring Tristan and Chelsie Hightower coming to a venue only a couple of hours from my home, I jumped at the chance to see it. This performance was in Bel Air, Maryland at the Harford Community College APG Federal Credit Union Arena.
Ballroom With A Twist-Mas is all about the holidays and it’s a joy from start to finish. With nearly two hours of non-stop performing (with one 15 minute break), you don’t have a chance to get bored. The cast is stellar. Tristan and Chelsie engaged the audience start to finish. They performed a few dances together and a finale with the entire cast, but they were on stage a lot. They did some introductions, chatted with the audience throughout, did the signature BWAT question and answer segment, hosted a few audience members in an impromptu dance lesson on stage, and more.
Tristan came on stage at one point and said he had been asked to speak about the importance of the holidays. He talked briefly about how this year would be his first away from home, but he wasn’t complaining about the warm weather where he will be spending Christmas (Florida). He also said the cast is much like a family as he has performed with most of them over the last few years in many different places. It is obvious that Tristan has a very close connection to the show and the amazingly talented dancers who rotate in and out of the cast.
In the question and answer segment, Tristan and Chelsie were asked about whether or not they have any input into what celebrities are on DWTS (they do not). In addition to several other questions, they were asked if they prefer performing or teaching. Both stressed how much they love performing, but to nobody’s surprise, Tristan once again emphasized his love of teaching.
I love the cast, and it is a cast of top performers from American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars, and, of course, now Strictly Come Dancing. These are my favorite dances from any show, any time – Kiki Nyemchek, Magda Fialek, Oksana Dmytrenko Platero, Brent Borbon, Anya Fuchs, CJ Blair, Tony Pututau, Legacy, Jon Platero, Taylor Banks, Nick Garcia, Patricia Kaniowski…an impressive cast indeed. There were loads of memorable moments and just about every dance style imaginable. It didn’t get much better than Legacy and Jon Platero singling out a lovely lady in the audience and performing for – and with – her. This was my first time to see Brent Borbon dance live, and it was a special treat. Tony and CJ are always brilliant, and I am in awe of Kiki and Magda who deliver every single time. I could go on and on about the rest of the cast – Oksana, Anya, Taylor, Nick, and Patricia – this is top quality all the way and every dance was brilliant.
Jaymz Tuaileva did a fabulous job choreographing Ballroom With A Twist-Mas.
The musicians were a nice touch and the onstage band brought a new flair to the show. The talent on that stage is unbelievable – I will never get tired of hearing Von Smith sing and this time he was paired with Vonzell Solomon. They are seriously talented and delivered magical vocals every time. Kudos also to the singers from the band who had beautiful voices and incredible presence.
The dancers are superb. The audience interaction was wonderful, and the after show meet and greet was special. It’s always nice to see Tristan, and as you would expect, he was very kind to both me and my daughter. But then Tristan is always a gentleman and gracious to everyone. If you ever get the chance to meet him, you will feel like you have known him forever.
The show has returned to Florida for the last few days of the tour (December 23-27) and this time Tristan will be dancing with Sabrina Bryan while Gleb Savchenko joins the cast with his wife, Elena Samodanova. It should be a wonderful final few days. If I had the opportunity to go again, I would to it in a heartbeat. The show is that good. Think high octane, high energy, high performance.
In our latest Q and A Tristan talks about Strictly Come Dancing, the new Ballroom With A Twist Christmas show (Ballroom With A Twist-Mas), motivation, entertaiment vs. technique, patience and so much more. Enjoy!
In your two series of Strictly Come Dancing, have there been a lot of changes in the way things are done or in the way you do things or is the format mostly the same?
There aren't too many changes, no, from season to season to be honest - not that I have noticed too much anyway. Then again I'm still pretty new to Strictly. The format of the show is always the same. You kind of just get used to the way it runs and accept it for what it is. Some seasons you stay in. Some seasons you go home. I guess a lot of viewers get more used to you the longer you stick around which makes sense but then again a lot of people think it's my first season so what are you gonna do!? I have enjoyed myself on the show. That's the main thing for me each season and when that stops, I’ll stop unless they stop me.......and then I’ll have to stop – Ha!
We’ve been hearing a lot about Ballroom With a Twist-Mas coming up later this month. Do you know much about the cast and show yet or will that all happen once you get back to the states?
I know bits and bobs. I haven't seen the show yet. I think it's running at the minute but myself and Gleb and his wife Elena join for Christmas Week once Strictly finishes and then we will take a break for New Years. I know I'm gonna dance with Sabrina Bryan for the show but we will put it together once we see each other next week, and the main show itself is choreographed by Jaymz Tuaileva who is super and a good friend of mine so I'm really looking forward to it. The cast are a great, great bunch. I really like them all and can't wait to be in that group again!
Lots of professional dancers mention particular people who they find inspiring or someone or something that motivates them. Whether it’s someone in dance or someone or something completely unrelated, what or who do you find inspiring or perhaps motivates you to keep going? Or does that motivation come from within?
Motivation comes from everywhere I think. For me it's nobody in particular and people throughout my life at different times and places have inspired me and helped me out a lot but having respect in yourself and in what you do should push you on every day. No matter what you do and what you love, some days it just drives you up the wall and you need a break from it so I make sure to give my head a bit of peace when I start to have my head turned. I'm not competitive but I try to do my best and I set my own goals from day to day or week to week but you need to TRY and for me that's always the main motivation whether I get that from within or from investing in others.
You’ve often mentioned telling a story through dance and even said that entertainment value can sometimes take precedence over the technical aspect, but how do you know when to let the entertainment value or the story take over and when do you know that technique shouldn’t be sacrificed? Are there examples?
It always depends on the situation. Technique can obviously make things easier but time plays a big factor and then nerves do even more so. You can work on technique all week but it means nothing when you step on the floor and your focus is something completely different. My focus - all the time, every single time - is how my partner feels and what she needs to feel good about herself and confident of having a good time. Judging depends on a personal perspective so unless you are going to pick up on every single thing wrong and not mention anything right or vice versa, how is that going to help anything?! It's easy to look at a performance and say what is wrong but you don't know what has improved and/or how it started so I have to prioritize for our comfort. Some people improve a lot more but can't improve as quickly and getting slammed for and it doesn't help. We as teachers are the most critical so we judge on the work, and the judges and audience judge on performance.
You have the ability to deal with all kinds of personalities in your work. People often say you are extremely patient. Do you think the word ‘patient’ describes you?
I don't think it describes me, no, but it's an attribute I have and something I find hard to believe is such a big deal – ha. Why shouldn't we all be patient? We know something that others don't and should take the time to try and explain things. I'm not the quickest at picking things up so I'd lose my mind and my temper I think if somebody was annoying me and complaining about it. We should be trying to find ways to improve ourselves as teachers not just improving 'celebrities' as dancers for our own benefit. It annoys me when everyone makes it just about winning. It turns me off. I want us to do as good as we can and be the best we can. If that helps us win then it's a bonus but my job on the show is to teach and make the experience enjoyable for the partner. It's not my job just to win.
Do you remember the first dance lesson you ever taught? Do you remember the first dance lesson you ever took and who taught it?
No, I don't actually remember the first class I took or taught to be honest but for no particular reason. It's just that it was so long ago. I remember the first time I represented Ireland in the world championships and I remember when I decided to finish competing and dancing but that's about it. I'm sure I can remember more if I tried but those are the main ones that I don't forget. I enjoy teaching now and remember a lot of lessons and classes and different studios and the teachers who work there full time and the students who show up every day for their lessons. I think that is the heartbeat of the dancing world and for me the thing that keeps my interest in it at all.
In terms of pure fun, which dance has been the most enjoyable for you to dance since you’ve been on SCD?
I won't forget the Riverdance number. I loved it. We didn't do much in it but the experience was unreal for me a bit like the Lion King number we did last week was for Oti. It was just special and even though it was not about us we both felt quite proud to be involved in the numbers. And my Jive with Jenny was fun because that was a nightmare day, and we couldn't have been further from smiling all day before that - hahaha.
We enjoyed the pro group dance with the cast of Lion King. Did you have rehearsals together and have you seen the show?
Yeah, the Lion King was great. They all came in and rehearsed the number a few days before and then the night before. They were great. It was a pretty big deal apparently. It was the first collaboration they had done in twenty years but the cast were unreal. I have a lot of friends who have been in the show over the years and it was one of the first shows I ever saw on Broadway. I could watch that show over and over and especially now that we hit it off with this cast so much.
Any SCD updates you can share such as pro dances, etc.?
No updates, no. We have two weeks left so the celebs all come back in next week for the big finale number. I'd imagine we have another pro number and then we have two more pro numbers tomorrow night so it will be a busy week next week but fitting for the last show.
You mentioned on a clip that aired on It Takes Two that the pro group dance would be to “On the Floor”. Being that we seem to remember way too much, we’re curious if you remember dancing to that song in the first pro and troupe dance on DWTS in Season 12.
I knew I had danced to it before but I couldn't remember when. That must have been the first number with Peta, Teddy, Nicole, Oksana and Kiki. That was a great bunch there. I loved that Troupe. It's such a well known song and used a lot. Sometimes you associate it with a particular time and number but it will be a completely different experience this time around. Neil and Katya have choreographed this one again and it's all the eliminated pros so we will just see how it goes. ITT usually happens on the first day of rehearsals so they are talking to you as you are finding out things and then if you don't say the right things they cut you out - hahaha.
We were sorry to hear that you won’t be doing the tour this year but beyond your Ballroom With A Twist-mas shows, do you have teaching or performing plans for the new year or will you be getting some time off from what has been another very busy year?
I'm taking time off after Florida shows, yeah for sure. I haven't had a break in a fair bit of time so I'm gonna sit down and have a think about what I want to do with my life and just see where that takes me.
Happy Birthday, MacManiacs.org!
MacManiacs.org launched on November 29, 2011, and in these four years the website has evolved but it hasn’t changed from the original focus - to support Tristan MacManus throughout his career. In the paragraphs that follow, you will find a little history about what we do, how we do it, and how we’ve changed over the last four years. Thanks to all who have visited the site since the launch and welcome to all who are just now finding us.
How we began
When Tristan first debuted on Dancing With the Stars in Season 12 (spring, 2011) as a member of the first troupe, many of us took notice but it was when he was moved up to pro and began working with Nancy Grace in Season 13 that he really got our attention.
How did we come up with the website plan? The original administrators met on the ABC message boards where we all spent a lot of time talking about Tristan and his celebrity partner, Nancy Grace, and we ultimately agreed that a new website would be the best way to keep supporting him. With Tristan’s permission, we began working on the site and launched just after Season 13 of DWTS ended, on November 29, 2011.
The site barely resembles what it was initially. We began with a few pages, some of which were registration, silly biographies of the administrators, a video page (long discontinued), the forum, and a small gallery. As time passed we added Updates (previously Weekly Updates), assorted temporary pages, focuses on charitable causes such as Dublin Down 330 for Grassroot Soccer and Dancing With the Teachers to benefit Stand Up To Cancer, and more. We now devote a part of the site to other artists and their work.
The current pages are listed below in the order they appear on the site. Secondary pages are listed immediately below the page they appear with on the pulldown menu.
Home Page – General information
Registration – For full site access in the event we lock a page temporarily
Special Feature – Current artist - Tahyna Tozzi MacManus
Spotlight – Currently featuring Interviews with Kristina Rihanoff, Fiona Whyte, and Jasmine Takacs
Updates – Latest interviews, news, upcoming appearances
MacManiaLand – Our forum (more about that later)
MacMusings – Our blog page which also includes recent interviews that might be elsewhere on the site, occasional commentary on whatever we feel like commenting on, messages for Tristan and Jamelia, and this and that.
Interviews – All of our interviews with Tristan are archived here.
Gallery – Photos of Tristan since, well, almost the beginning of time. The main gallery page has images prior to August 17, 2013
Gallery 2 - Images from August 17, 2013 - August 21, 2014
Gallery 3 - Images from August 22, 2014 - October 25, 2014
Gallery 4 - Images from October 26, 2014 - December 31, 2014
Gallery 5 - Images from January 1, 2015 - May 14, 2015
Gallery 6 - Images from May 15, 2015 to September 2, 2015
Gallery 7 - Images from September 2, 2015 - October 13, 2015
Gallery 8 - Images from October 14, 2015 – November 13, 2015
Gallery 9 - Images from November 14, 2014 - Present
Expressions - Featured Gallery
More… (links) Please note that some of the videos are no longer accessible on You Tube so we are in the process of updating and finding new links so these pages are a constant work in progress.
Photos (some of which are not in our gallery)
Interviews (other than those done on this site)
Archives Direct links to all 54 of our re-posted interviews with Tristan
One of the busiest places on this website, our forum is a fun and rowdy but respectful place. We are now at nearly 900,000 views and currently having the busiest few weeks since launch. People come and go but mostly they stick around, and every post is read so that nothing troll-like sneaks in. We currently have forum monitoring 24/7, thanks to the wonderful website members who have volunteered to take different shifts ranging from one to five hours every day so that we can make sure things move along and remain politically correct.
By the way, those 900,000 forum views are amazing, but the website overall has many times more than that.
Within the site….Interviews
While Tristan is our main focus, he is not our only focus. During the years, we have interviewed numerous dancers, writers, performers, our own website members, other MacManiacs, and representatives of other fan pages for dancers such as Cheryl Burke and Dmitry Chaplin. Here are just a few of the interviews you can find within the pages of this site:
Tristan MacManus – Our favorite interview subject and his 54 interviews are found not only on the archived interviews page mentioned above, but also within our regular MacMusings pages and our forum, MacManiaLand, where there are lots and lots of comments about each one.
Writer, filmmaker and artist Tahyna Tozzi MacManus
Professional dancer Kristina Rihanoff
Professional photographer Fiona Whyte
Professional dancer Jasmine Takacs
Singer/Songwriter Nikki Lorenzo
Professional dancer Emma Slater
Professional dancer Sasha Farber
Professional dancer Henry Byalikov
Cruise expert and writer Jason Leppert
Spokesperson and radio personality Andy Steinhauser
Princeton Dance and Theatre Co-Owner & former principal dancer with the Dayton Ballet Risa Kaplowitz
Writer for Wetpaint Gina Carbone
Those are just some of our interviews but not all, and several more are in the works.
To everyone who has stopped by our website, posted on the forum, read an interview, enjoyed our galleries, left a comment on a blog post, clicked on a link, sent us an article or photo, or sent us a question for Tristan, we thank you. We’re still going strong and will be making plenty more changes as time goes by.
While we can’t even imagine the number of overall site views we have had in the last four years as it ranges from a few hundred to several thousand daily, we do know that our forum is inching up on 900,000 views and that is another huge milestone that we shall reach in the next day or so. Then we’ll be having a lot more fun as we head towards 1,000,000 forum views, and we can’t wait.
Special thanks to Tristan who has humored us from Day 1 and been nothing but gracious and appreciative of our sometimes fumbling efforts. He sent us this message exactly one week ago, and it means more than we can say:
“A week away from 4 years on the website which is unbelievable. It’s as humbling now as it was Day 1 and as always I can't thank you enough for the time and effort you guys put in and support you give out. It’s a testament to the work you guys do that 900,000 or so views have been reached. You keep people more interested than I do, I think. But again from the bottom of my heart, I thank you."
Another fabulous Q and A with our favorite pro!
Congratulations to you and Jamelia on a wonderful run on Strictly. We loved every second of it. Do you have a couple of special memories from your time working together?
Not really. I think all our time we actually spent together was great. We laughed a lot at all the stuff written about us both and our lack of media interest. We are perfectly matched in that sense in that we are both as bad as each other but for the purpose of the show we were probably worst paired for that side of it – haha. We are both the same in that we just concentrate on our work and don't get caught up with all the other stuff that seems to be almost as important when it comes to reality/produced tv. We always had great fun on ITT. It’s the side show where there is no control over you and you can do and say (within reason) what you want - ha. We get on great off the floor and outside of 'work'.
In an interview with us from November 7, 2013 we asked you about partner preferences with regard to past experience. Here was your response.
“If I could choose a partner, anything dance would be the last thing that came into it. If they had a lifetime of ballroom dance experience, and I didn’t like them, I couldn’t think of anyone worse to spend all that time with. I would choose someone with little to none with a brain of their own and a personality of their own every day of the week – breakfast, lunch and dinner!!”
We were discussing this on the forum earlier and someone commented that it sounds like Jamelia might fit that description. Your thoughts? (other than you probably knew these interviews would come back to haunt you)
Yes - 100%. I like people who know who they are and don't change to suit others. Sometimes you say some things that get completely taken out of context and then you have to live with that so you can either spend your days trying to cover it up and make excuses to get people onside or you can put your hands up and say ‘that’s what I said then and let sleeping dogs lay.’ I’d prefer to know the person I have decided I don't like - haha. I say some things day to day that get taken out of context. People will always find fault when they go looking for it. The show isn't all about dancing so when we sit down for breaks or after work or before I don't want to be talking about dancing and what everyone else in the show is doing and how can we get our faces in the paper or whatever. I want to get to know the person I'm spending time with so when this circus is over I have actually met somebody I like spending time with. Jamelia was always pleasant and nice to me and whoever I introduced her to and that is more important to me than people thinking we are good or bad at dancing.
You’ve use the word ‘respect’ a lot in all of our interviews. In your opinion, what does one have to do to earn respect?
You don't have to do anything to earn respect. It should be a given - - YOU RESPECT PEOPLE! That’s the end of it!! You need a reason to lose respect for someone but not to have it. I have had a few issues with people’s opinions on respect and what respect is. You treat people with respect by being a decent human being - not by telling everybody how much you respect people or showing symbols or giving money or whatever it is once a year. Look people in the eye, shake their hand, and ask them about themselves and their families.
Several pros have their own tours and those tours vary substantially in length, content, and format. Is this something you have ever thought about doing?
No, it’s not for me. There are a lot of tours going on and I think they are great but I have no plans for my own.
Do you do anything special to prevent injuries? This might not be the case, but there seem to be fewer injuries on SCD than what we saw on DWTS. Is there anything done differently on SCD?
No, I get a lot of injuries just like everyone else. It’s a very deceiving show in terms of what is involved. We all get fatigued physically and mentally and it takes its toll. We get a lot of injuries on Strictly as well as DWTS. Maybe the styles and the priorities on the shows differ but they are equally as 'dangerous'. A lot of the celebs are shocked at what the show requires after they sign up and with the time given you have to throw yourself in the deep end and you find the balance of who picks up the slack. So everyone is going for it in case it’s the end, and it’s inevitable that something is gonna bruise or break – haha. A lot of dancers internally carry a lot of injuries but we have routines to help us keep going. When I was younger for sure I never looked after injuries. You just pushed through but as you get older they reoccur and the snowball effect kicks in and before you know it you are wrapped in ice and everything clicks and cracks when you sit down or stand up - haha.
When 2015 Strictly ends in a few weeks, will you be getting a much needed break or do you have other projects in the works?
Yeah, I fly out to Florida the morning after Strictly finishes for some shows there, and then I will take a break at the start of the new year unless they ask us to do the Strictly tour which we haven't heard too much about yet. Always working!
Final note: On November 29, 2015, we will be celebrating the fourth anniversary of the launch of this website and at approximately the same time, we will have reached 900,000 forum views. Tristan sent along these very special words and for that we thank him.
"A week away from 4 years on the website which is unbelievable. It’s as humbling now as it was Day 1 and as always I can't thank you enough for the time and effort you guys put in and support you give out. It’s a testament to the work you guys do that 900,000 or so views have been reached. You keep people more interested than I do, I think. But again from the bottom of my heart, I thank you." --Tristan
Jamelia and Tristan went out on a high note Week 9 in Blackpool, and we are very proud of them! They showed class and dignity, and their beautiful smiles made us smile every single week.
Please show your support for them by leaving a messages for them in the comments section below.
Thank you for all the great questions you have sent in for Tristan - here, on Twitter, and on the Facebook Fan Page. As always, Tristan took time out of his very busy schedule on Sunday to interact with his supporters once again by answering some very thought-provoking questions. Enjoy!
We had some laughs watching your Prom Queen/Nerd themedSamba which inspired this question. When you were in school, were you more like the prom king, nerd, party boy having a good time type, or the rebel – a la James Dean?
I wasn't really any kind of way to be honest. We all loved sports so we all wanted to play most of my mates from school. We were all together from preschool growing up through Irish speaking schools. I was pretty lazy in school. I wasn't really into many subjects but I always loved history. I used to just spend most days talking. I always 'had potential if he would just apply himself'!!! I was a bit of a smartarse but I was never the worst. I probably was a bit into myself in school and attention seeking but sure I snapped out of that!! I was just happy as I was. I think it’s very important to be educated but I think the focus sometimes is on the wrong things in my opinion. I’d have liked more opinions in school. What do you think about this? What do you think about that? What would you do? But then again at that age I didn't really give a rats. You go to school and you spend the day hoping they don't ask for your homework that you didn't do or wanting to get home!!! I spent all my time thinking ‘I need to remember this date, that date, when am I ever going to use that?’ I think first aid should be compulsory in schools and also exercise. I wish I had paid more attention to languages but to be honest I think we all look back and wish we paid more attention. I’m assuming this is adults reading this and not impressionable children..... Education is very, very important but I think it starts at home.
We probably know the answer to this already, but your Week 8 costume was perfection – in a nerdy kind of way. Did you ever have anything in your closet that resembled that pink ruffled shirt?
No chance. I’m sure I’ve had a few costumes not far off when I was younger but sure that’s why I walked away from that madness. Anytime I put glasses on people think I’m Austin Powers.
You’re a pro and have been asked to create dances to all kinds of music – good and bad – but do you recall one time in particular when you were presented your music and dance type and thought “now what am I supposed to do with this”?
No comment........haha - yeah always. Again when we were on DWTS you could a lot of the time choose a lot more but here not so much. For sure they try help you out but ultimately it comes down to a boss’s preference. You get songs that you never heard of and you get songs you wish you will never hear again and then you now and again get lucky and get a song you always wanted. The fact of the matter is it’s not about me and what I want. I make a dance to make my partner enjoy herself and I do it to a song that someone has decided the audience will love. I’ve had a few for sure, and the fact is a great idea in your head doesn’t always play out the way you want it to and that has to be accepted across the board in every department. You can't just take the credit when it goes right. The producers need to put on a collective show. Sometimes you get the raw deal but other times you get that helping hand, but people just don't like to see it that way. People love songs and people hate songs. You hear a lot of songs being re-used but you have to remember that every celebrity is doing the show for the first time and their 'experience' is the only shot they get so you have to say ‘I like it’ or ‘I don't like it’ and if they can help, they help and if they won’t, you step back and do your job. Our music guy, Matt, is great with me though. We love a lot of the same songs.
We think that the people behind the scenes don't get nearly enough credit. Obviously lots of people work together to make Strictly run smoothly but are there any behind the scenes staff and crew that you work with regularly that you would like to mention?
You know what? Unfortunately not enough people in any walk of life get the credit they deserve, and we are very lucky that we have a dedicated bunch who work their socks off regardless! We have all the stage crew and props and lighting and camera departments that are there much longer than we are on a show day and make the show as amazing as it is and take earfulls from every Tom, Dick and Harry who have an air of ego or entitlement about them and still they rock up and do their jobs without looking for a pat on the back from anyone. I make sure I go out of my way to thank them all. We can get caught up in our own mini-dramatics of show days and all that garb but at the end of the day everyone takes pride in what they do - however big or small the job may seem. We have the greatest crew in the business and it’s down to them that the show runs as well as it does and has done since day dot. The banter from the prop boys is great and the hair and make up and costume departments craic me up. The security firm are top notch and obviously our coordinaters take all the flak for the ridiculous early call times but they keep us in check. Sophie Halsey is the best - haha.
You seem to have a gift to be able to talk to anybody about anything, and we think you would make a brilliant presenter/interviewer/host. If you could ask Craig, Darcey, Len, and Bruno each one question, what would it be?
The judges are great. I talk to most of them on show days at different times of the day be it passing in the corridor or in the tent after the shows. They are all great. They have a show to put on as well as we do and their characters for sure are part of their personalities but it’s not all they are. I talk football with Len and I have jokes and drinks with Craig and now and again I’ll spin Darcey around and grab a cuddle but they are very pleasant, nice people so all questions stay between us I’m afraid. I’d imagine Craig loves being that judge I think would be the best just slamming people – haha. Obviously it’s very different when you are on the receiving end but being the villain of anything is more fun. Everyone gets on with the judges off camera. I think Bruno is trying to take his nastiness this season – haha.
Speaking of the judges, do they watch your performance for the first time when you dance it live or do they get a preview at dress run?
Ah, who knows? Officially, yes. Realistically....I don't know.
What will training be like this week for Week 9 and Blackpool? Will things be different in rehearsal because of the massiveness of the Tower Ballroom itself?
Yeah, the first major change with Blackpool is that we lose our day off. We have been in all day rehearsing the two group numbers for next week and fitting in all the extra dancers and celebs into a group dance so already the week has rolled into two. We have a lot more work on and less sleep and even less time to rest the brain which is the most important. We all get on great on the show but I think everyone needs a day off and to not see everyone else for at least one day – ha. We will still travel and rehearse but we will more than likely go to Blackpool Thursday evening - some maybe earlier - and be there Friday and Saturday and Sunday I’d imagine. Your rehearsal rooms are still the same as most other weeks but, yeah, you have to plan for the massiveness of Blackpool which can be quite difficult to do but sure what else can you do!!?? Probably spend the week doing more VTs about how amazing Blackpool is and the sacrifices you made to get there, how many children you sold for that shot at the mirrorball!!!! It’s a fun week but it’s mental - busy usually with it in the end. It’s a special event for a lot of people you know so it’s just best to get your head down and enjoy the ride.
We saw Kym Johnson in the audience Saturday. Did you get a chance to catch up?
Yeah, Kym and Robert were there passing through so we caught up before the show which is always nice. I didn't see them after. It’s pretty full on show day and you are getting pulled here, there, and everywhere but I’m sure we will catch up again soon enough.
Here is a question from Lisa from your Facebook Fan Page: “One of the things I like most about you, Tristan, is the fact that you come across as an ordinary bloke who does have other interests. What advice would you give to young boys who are afraid to dance for fear of being bullied?”
The thing is that unfortunately bullies will always take their insecurities and whatever they are missing in their lives out on others. I think all we can do is teach each other to be strong enough to follow through on what we want to do. You can't affect other people but we can reassure our kids that being yourself is most important and standing up for yourself and what you believe in is the only thing that’s important. Kids will be kids. We all act the maggot at some stage of our lives. Some grow out of it and some just stay assholes but as individuals we need to find what makes us happy and do that. Giving someone a smack feels great but it doesn't get you anywhere. People are just finding their way and trying to fit in. Unfortunately, they feel the need to alienate someone else to do that but when the individual they alienate is confident and very content as themselves, then they almost feel what's the point?! I don't have the answers and I don't really like giving advice on it because every situation is different. For me I took a few digs and smacks and I gave back double but that’s not always the answer. I think nurturing a strong willed individual boy or girl with a mind of their own will set them up for making the right decisions based on their own convictions.